My knowledge of Carrie before reading the book or watching the films was limited to parodies and homages. Though the posters advertising the films and peer evaluations on each media kept me wanting to learn more about the featured character. All I knew about the film was it's a horror movie and the writer was a skilled horror author, I was surprised by how skilled Stephen King was at writing a consuming tale. I grew up with more fear of scary movies than education of what makes a scary movie or story. Over the last 7 years I've become more openminded with the genre of entertainment that comes my way, this has become an amazing journey.
Often movies are made based off of books, though the 1970's version of Carrie felt like it was based off of the 1990's TV show (there wasn't, though a dark version of Sabrina the Teenage Witch would be interesting, especially in that early 90's sitcom style). Though with the newest version of the film takes a lot of cues from the book, but like the original film it keeps true to the idea of a modern teen story.
The opening scene of the 1976 film and the 2013 film had major differences that I thought respected the actor, though took away from the horror and abuse that the book had, which the students pushed Carrie into social and mental strain. Though that's expected since in a novel a character's emotion can be spelled out, where a film hopes that the actors can emote in a scene enough to have the intended emotion realized. Still randomly bleeding and peers around you not caring that you could be dying is a very surreal moment in anyone's life, especially in a public shower.
Characters have a two dimensional feeling to them, though this is what the film needs, they're used as a device to further the plot. Which isn't too different from the book, the characters were used to engross the viewer into what it was like to be a student of that high school, during that generation. That's something that a lot of people forget about this story, the book and both films are about the modern teenager. With the 2013 film they updated a lot of the dialog and took out most of the unintentional humor, though with all interpretations Carrie is a product of the 1900's rather than a girl from the 50's or 70's or 2010's. I digress with the newest version a lot of the characters feel modern, mid-90's, but still believable enough that Carrie feels out of place still, an outcast to social norms.
One of the most memorable things that Carrie is known for is her telekinesis, though what's forgotten is the stress that is placed on her body. In the book she works out, does a literary montage of her lifting various objects with various weights. She continues to do this through the days or months that it takes her to fully realize the potential that she has stored in her body. Though like I said before, the book goes on to tell us her strain, that her blood pressure increases and her heart speeds up.
During that famous scene in the film where Carrie kills everyone at the prom, both in the 1976 and 2013 films, it felt influenced on the year. During the 70's there was a mass of films that involved murders, called Slasher films. Slasher films were around before the 70's, but really came into their own in the 80's, though truly started in the late 70's since most of our more famously known killers started right at the tip of the decade. It was a popular and easy theme for a studio, since the budget paid for fake blood and a location, mostly. Though today (2010's) there's a raise in this type of media again, though viewers like to see more detail of the limitations of the human body. So in each version there is a horrible display of death, the book is no different, though is the most relaxed of the three on how everyone dies. One thing that a lot of films don't execute often is implications, sometimes implying can be more horrifying than showing how horrible something can be.
For example in a Martial Arts film it is shot in a wide angle, so the audience can see the movements and actions taken by the hero striking the villain. This is when showing is more powerful than telling. Another example is the 1994 Clerks movie that shows the main characters (Randal and Dante) walk into a funeral, then after it cuts to black time is implied to have passed and the characters are running back to the car with people chasing after them. This is implied action, letting the viewer make what has happened be created within their mind, though context post-event let's in bits of what happened, though still tells it without showing it. This can be seen well in the 2013 Carrie film where the principal is tramped, graphically tramped, audibly killed by the panicking students, trampling was shown too in the 1976 film, but like the book more people were killed from fear of being killed.
After the famous prom scene Carrie walks through town killing and burning everything to the ground, which wasn't really seen in the 1976 film, though implied in the 2013 film. Though she did more community damage, but both were pale to the destruction in the book. All three version have Carrie then make a B-line to her Mother…killing her. Though in the films the students that kill her prom date and pour pig's blood all over her are the first outside of the prom to feel her vengeance. In the book she takes out her unstable Mother, then ricochet over to the murdering pranksters at the edge of town… killing them, then dying with the town blazing in the background. That's the end of the book, she put so much stress on her heart and mind that her body gave out, it's like an untrained body jumping into an Iron Man competition, though a beautiful way of killing off your main character.
No, the sports one, now think of doing all of that physical strain with just your mind. That's determination, though with a cost, the ferryman knows the price well.
This is my favorite Stephen King book (at the moment), I know he has written many (large) novels, so I will try to tackle as many as I can in a life time, but this will always be that perfect book to bring people into his writing.
As you can tell I really enjoyed the book, though the 1976 film I felt didn't understand the source material. It felt like it was more of a comedy, though the prom scene (in all versions), was maybe the most terrifying especially in the 1976 film. In the 2013 film there were nods to the older movie that I felt was out of place, though a nice homage to the older movie, but context didn't make sense to this film's plot. That being stated there was a beautiful scene in the 2013 movie that I loved in the novel, which to me means the source material was realized better with this creative team. My favorite scene in the book was in both films, but was closer to the novel in 2013. It was between the parent of the antagonist and the principal. This was played by an actor that knew how the Principal needed to be seen, this nervous, feeble man, that puffs courage and adrenaline into his veins at the proper moment. The build up and the execution is what makes this scene wonderful, so talking about it is like describing a painting, you'll never see the texture, the pigment, or how it's proportions are unless till you use your own eyes.
Everything about the Carrie movies and book were astounding, there wasn't a moment that I didn't enjoy either watching or reading. There are always problems with media and it's boundaries, though with this novel about a modern teenager it's about emotion. Every parody or homage or version of the original keeps that in mind and is able to tell their version, since we've all been at that age or felt that mad.
I trust you enjoyed the inspection, thank you for reading.
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